The first question is, would Hitler have become the evil that he became, had his sycophants, his people, had Germany refused to bow down to him and carry out his instructions, to follow and enforce the laws he passed on to them? Suppose they had not, would six million Jews have been exterminated, would millions in lands he invaded perished, would millions of his own people have died as a consequence, if they had said to him, Adolf, go to hell, do it yourself, because we believe in the philosophy, to live and let live, and your objective to kill and/or be killed, is not for us?
Just suppose that had happened, there would have been no monsters like Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Mugabe, Idi Amin, Bokassa etc. simply because they became despots without themselves firing a single shot only because of the participation of their people, because ordinary men and women became complicit in what their leaders wanted and without thinking that they might have been wrong, that these power hungry megalomaniacs were insane men who belonged in a madhouse and not in the corridors of power, they just accepted what they said as the words of the gospel and carried them out in the spirit of the expression, thy word is my command.
Monsters are individuals who have been made in the image and likeness of the people who blindly support them in the way of the herd mentality.
While hundreds of millions of enforcers of the law – police, soldiers etc. – swear to uphold the law under which they live, they being, generally of the herd mentality, and thus not questioning the legality and validity of the law handed down to them to implement, do so without the appreciation of the adage, “the law is an ass.” True, some laws are indeed good and enlightening, but if you are told as a soldier or police to round up a certain race of people and exterminate them because of their religion, should you just follow that instruction or should you turn your gun at the one who is giving you that insane instruction?
In Pakistan, the armed forces keep an eye out for oppressive and dictatorial laws the government enacts. When they become too oppressive and corrupt, the army routinely intervenes as it did in (1958-71; 1977-88; 1999-2008) – in coups that overthrew the elected government.
We in the western world accustomed to the more conventional means of changing governments by the ballot box, self-righteously condemn the overthrow of governments by coups without understanding that once elected, governments in some countries technically become dictatorships, passing laws that are tyrannical and are made to satisfy the corruption and theft of those who make them.
Consider this: humanitarian countries and organisations are on their way to deliver food and medicine to the people of Venezuela and Maduro sends his army to block the delivery and like robots they blocked it.
The other question is, should the army have heeded Maduro’s order, or should they have returned to Caracas and topple him from power for his selfishness, for his lack of humanitarianism?
When these things happen, you begin to understand why coups happen and why in Pakistan, for example, Imran Khan doesn’t dare pass any controversial law without consulting the military which vigilantly keeps an eye out for corruption at the palace level. In our Westminster style of Government, we practically elect a dictatorship which goes about business like a runaway train. What we need is a body (of army, police?) with oversight powers to keep government on its toes – something like what exists in Pakistan so that elected officials would know that they are not immune from the law.
It explains why the military in Myanmar has overthrown Aung San Suu Kyi, who fell from grace because her policies left the country in a state of anarchy.
While unarmed, ordinary citizens are taken for granted by governments, it is expedient that there be some kind of institutionalized watchdog, a military pit bull, if you wish, to help keep an eye on things for us so that the passing of corrupt laws do not happen, and we do not help in the making of more despots.
When we begin to experience the existential angst of this happening, we must remember Burke’s words: “all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” Governments should no longer feel they are above the law; that they could smugly laugh away their blunders and incompetence as does this MOH.
L. Siddhartha Orie